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Stranger On The Milk Carton
Reply to JessamynAdded to the Roswell Slash Archive January 26, 2002
Title: Stranger On The Milk Carton
Summary: *said in an Elvis-voice* The King has left the planet. (lol)
Improv #9: tender - - pale - - glory - - collage
Disclaimer: Metz&Co. and Katims&Co own everything this fic is based upon. I'm just having some fun with them.
Spoiler: Based on a 'What if...' during Control
Distribution: List site obviously, and I might see if Judas Kiss wants it, but other than that just let me know okay?
Feedback = Goooooooood.
Notes 1: Things between [i][/i] 's should be put into italics when converted to html. They're 'flashbacks'.
Notes 2: A companion fic is on the way explaining some of the plot points more thoroughly.
The last several months have been a collage of moments leading up to this very night. Tears, sleep, and her own monotone voice answering the police's questions made up the majority of them. But toward the end it had seemed the weight of her sorrow, of her worry, had lessened. They didn't *know* that Max was dead after all and graduation was coming. She wouldn't be valedictorian as she'd somewhat vaguely hoped but her grades were still good enough for her to be accepted at most state colleges. A time of change was coming, perfect for other resolutions, and Liz had firmly told herself to get on with her life.
But tonight had caught her unaware. The pale white milk flowed across the floor just as her salty tears flowed down her cheeks. Max's picture stared slantwise from the carton.
It had started out as a regular night, Liz cleaning up the Crashdown after closing and Isabel keeping her company meanwhile. During the whole ordeal they'd gotten pretty close, helping eachother get through the days and nights when they'd held out hope for Max's safe return, and finally the shattering disillusion that maybe, just maybe he wouldn't be coming home at all.
A sob tore through Liz's throat.
Isabel had found something of Jesse's in her room and was yet again venting her frustration and anger out at her ex. She made a whole show of it, hands waving emphatically, and her voice a mixture of tempered fury and tight control. Secretly Liz had been as pleased as Mrs. Evans when they'd decided not to go through with the wedding but she knew better than to show it.
For although it had hurt Isabel terribly at the time (and Liz most certainly didn't want that) Jesse hadn't been right for Isabel. It was better that she'd found that out *before* they'd gotten married. Or worse, before Isabel had let it slip that she was an alien.
And if there were any other reasons for her to take pleasure in the announcement, well, she was trying firmly to block those out.
Liz's crying quieted the moment Isabel took her into her arms, holding the smaller girl tenderly, as her own silent tears streamed unbidden down her face. With her high heeled boots on she was able to tuck Liz's dark head underneath her chin and the two melted together in their search for comfort.
No gaps marred the line between human and hybrid. The top of Liz's chest pushed up underneath Isabel's creating a plush pillow onto which Liz's tears could soak. Arms, tucked over and under respectively, clung to shaking frames as if to keep them whole. And shuddering torsos brushed against one another to create an unconscious warmth.
Once Isabel wound down enough Liz offered to split the last of the double-layered cake with her. She'd wanted to discuss colleges and the possibility of them becoming roommates if Liz decided to enroll at Santa Fe State.
It had been a simple everyday sort of action. If you're about to eat cake or cookies or something you went and got milk and tobasco sauce, right? Well, maybe not the tobasco but that's not the point.
Liz laughed, a harsh sound made coarse by her crying, and said "Ugh, I feel like such an idiot. Crying over spilt milk..." She pulled away from the too tempting circle of Isabel's arms and wiped at her cheeks. Grabbing a towel from a rack she knelt and began mopping up the mess. Mostly because it was a habit of waitressing but more because she didn't feel up to meeting Isabel's eyes.
"Here, let me." Isabel offered, picking up the milk carton and waving a hand over the floor. The area, and even the towel Liz had been using, became bone dry in a matter of seconds. Liz traced a finger over the area.
Liz sighed and looked up to see Isabel gazing at the carton in her hand. "He's really not coming back, is he?" she asked, the very last shred of her hope slipping away. Hope she hadn't even known she still harbored until tonight.
Isabel shook her head sadly. "I think the only reason the police even did this is because Mom made such a fuss." she said, wiping a drop of milk from Max's image. Staring at the smiling face Isabel seemed lost in her thoughts for a moment looking so sad that Liz longed to kiss her until...
Wait. Hold on, back up. Kiss her?
Kneeling there, on the cool floor, Liz regarded Isabel with something close to awe. Not at her perfect, classical beauty but rather at her own feelings for the other woman. For a glorious, and sad, and horrible realization was upon her.
She loved Isabel.
Somewhere along the way she'd crossed that line between friendship and love without even realizing it. Oh sure, she'd loved Maria and Alex but in that best friends-almost-family way. She'd never felt this slow ache for anyone else before... Not even Max.
With him it had been all romantic dreams and wild thrills. More fantasy than anything else even when she'd considered giving up her virginity to him. She'd been in love... with love. The notion of soulmates and forever.
Isabel was all reality with her solid arms and soft flesh. Comfort and sadness, anger and frustration, laughter and happiness too. If they weren't together she was on her mind. Like if she heard a good song on the radio or a customer did something funny she always filed it away to tell her later.
She loved Isabel, and for a moment her heart flew free on the power of its intensity, only to fall crashing to earth again as a thought permeated her head. What was she going to do about this?
"Liz?" Isabel asked, "Are you okay?"
Liz took the hand hovering before her, allowing it to pull her upright. That was a very good question. Looking at Isabel though she did know one thing.
She wasn't ready for this. Not yet.
Shaking off the rest of her thoughts she answered Isabel "Yeah... yeah, I'm fine." Liz pasted on a smile and asked "How about some ice-cream instead of that cake?"
Taking the milk carton she tossed it into the trash.
Someday she'd tell her.
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